Sales Ops + Marketing Ops = Revenue Ops

May 2, 2017 Mark Emmons

Business Operations. Marketing Operations. Sales Operations. There is no lack of departments, roles and labels that encompass the process-oriented portions of B2B organizations.

But now, another idea has begun to take root: Revenue Operations.

The concept is essentially a merging of the Sales Ops and Marketing Ops roles into a single team that focuses on the entire buyer’s journey — from lead creation all the way through to the satisfaction of existing customers.

Scott Vaughan, the chief marketing officer of Integrate, recently made the case why there should be a re-thinking of the operations function at companies. Sales and marketing alignment doesn’t go nearly far enough, Vaughan argued.

“If you want to get sales and marketing to operate as a unified, high-performing machine, skip this “alignment” fallacy and start with ops as the ultimate integrator,” he wrote. “This will result in greater focus on what truly matters: customer revenue and lifetime value.”

Meanwhile, predictive analytics firm Radius recently led an interesting content project called “The Rise of Revenue Ops,” which examined improving growth by combining the responsibilities Sales Ops and Marketing Ops.

So, is this a budding trend or just an interesting idea to bat around on social media? Right now, it seems to be a little of both.

Sam Melnick, the vice president of marketing at Allocadia, believes Revenue Ops is just another way of looking at the challenge of getting sales and marketing teams on the same page. But what does make it different is the focus on technology and process, he said.

“It’s not just how sales and marketing need to be friends,” Melnick added. “It’s a different approach to thinking about how you can merge Sales Ops and Marketing Ops together so that the process is flowing across both. Some organizations already have something like Revenue Ops roles. I don’t think you’ll see it popping up at multi-billion-dollar companies anytime soon. But you’re going to see it at smaller companies because marketing and sales operations people are already trying to do it.”

Allocadia participated in the Radius eBook and highlighted the importance of management and strategy when thinking about Go-To-Market planning. That fits into the wheelhouse of their expertise. The Allocadia 2017 Marketing Performance Management Maturity Study showcased how the best-performing marketers are focused on core operational data and integrating technologies.

Revenue Ops builds on the notion. Melnick said that a couple of larger industry trends are at work here, too.

First, it captures the real-world blurring of the lines between the two operations teams. The clear line of demarcation between Sales Ops and Marketing Ops is fading — especially at businesses adopting account-based strategies. Increasingly, organizations are looking at metrics that are meaningful for the entire business, not just specific teams. Silos are out. Cooperation is in.

“SiriusDecisions is always talking about alignment to the corporate objective,” Melnick explained. “That’s exactly what this is. You have to decide what is truly valuable to the business, and then decide how to get it done.”

Secondly, Revenue Ops reflects the growing stature of operations pros in general. They’re being recognized as the unsung heroes of organizations.

“Ops is definitely becoming much more strategic,” he added. “It’s no longer just the Salesforce administrator or junior analyst who’s working in spreadsheets. It’s somebody who actually has to look at the business and help predict what’s our next action. Whatever you call this role, it can be a total difference-maker in an organization. You’ll have so much more visibility and you’ll make much smarter decisions.”

There are, of course, questions about how a Revenue Ops team would look and operate.

  • Is it simply a merging of the sales and marketing operations teams, or something else entirely?
  • Who does it report to in the leadership structure? The CMO? The head of sales?
  • What metrics would become the primary focus?

But for now, this much is certain: You’ll probably be hearing more about Revenue Ops.

So, what do you think? Is this a fad or something that will stay? We would love to hear your take.

 

About the Author

Mark Emmons

Mark Emmons is the staff writer at LeanData. He previously was a reporter at the San Jose Mercury News, Orange County Register and Detroit Free Press. He can be reached at mark@leandatainc.com.

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